H1N1 Vaccine Hits Production Delays
The U.S. won’t get 195 million H1N1 vaccine doses it had planned for by the end of the year because of production delays, said Nicole Lurie, Health and Human Services assistant secretary for preparedness and response.
She said Americans may get 42 million doses by mid-November or 8 million less than earlier U.S. estimates.
Health officials started getting the bad news from vaccine producers around Columbus Day weekend, Lurie said.
“In that week we heard from three producers, two in one day, that they were not going to hit their targets,” she said. “It has been an unbelievably frustrating situation for all of us.
“The problems they were having were taking much longer to fix than anticipated.”
Hospitals and health departments do not get any notification about when doses will arrive – the shipments just show up.
The H1N1 virus (Swine flu) is widespread in 41 states, and, for the first time, mortality rates have surpassed the threshold for an epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Oct. 16.
There have been 36 confirmed deaths this season attributed to H1N1 in Tennessee alone. Nationally, the figure is more than 1,000. Eighty-six children have died, more than the pediatric toll for a typical year of influenza, the CDC says.
According to The Tennessean, Nashville Tennessee’s health department ran out of H1N1 vaccine in just two days, and with production delays at major drug makers, no one is sure when more vaccine will arrive.
Nashville’s Metro Public Health went through about 2,400 doses of the injectable vaccine this week.
Concern over the swine flu has had one positive effect; more Americans have been vaccinated against seasonal flu than ever before by this time of year, federal health officials said Friday.